These poems for kids have been tested! For the last three years, I have used these poems in my classroom and my students LOVED them. Based on what I have heard from many of you, your students enjoy these poems too!
Poems for Kids: Why Poetry?
My initial response is… poems are fun! Well, I guess so is playing tag and braiding your neighbor’s hair. So the question really should be, “What are the academic benefits of poetry?”
The demands of poetry
Students must deploy numerous skills to navigate poetry:
- decipher the figurative language in poetry
- infer the deeper meaning of the poem*
- create sensory images
- make connections
- appreciate rhythm and rhyme
*In the primary grades, we don’t dive too deep into poems that need complex interpretation. However, I remember suffering through these PAINFUL poetry lessons when I was in high school. They made my head hurt. Here is what Fountas and Pinnell had to say,
“If [you] are going to learn to love poetry, [you] need to feel it and enjoy the language first…Young children respond to rhymes, chants, and songs (not properly called poetry according to scholars, but an important foundation for appreciating poetry.”
Poems for Kids Means Enlarged Print for Shared Reading
We use enlarged print in the poems because it allows the students to focus on the print. We use a variety of pointers. At the beginning of the year, students start by pointing to each word as we read the poem. Then we gravitate towards sliding the pointer underneath the words as we read. Towards the end of the year, we simply point to the line we are reading. Student helpers are always brought forward to lead us. Sometimes we need to offer more support so we work hand-over-hand with the student. Other students can handle this task independently.
Poems for Kids: EVERYBODY participates!
As we are read the poems, we also do some word work. These activities are from the interactive poetry notebook component of my poetry units. As you can see, the beginning of the year, my kindergarten students really focus on beginning skills. As the year progresses, we get to the more rigorous skills.
In kindergarten, we do concept sorts (included in the poetry units).
(This is the included student response page.)
We also do word sorts to support phonemic awareness.
Regardless of the activity, everyone is participating during our poetry time. No beauty shop here… yes, braiding hair can be fun, but EVERYONE needs to participate in the activity. Some students need the support of the class sort, while others can handle this on their own. Here are a few more of the interactive poetry notebook pages.
Poems for Kids: The use of poems builds fluency
I have written extensively about how we use poetry to influence fluency. You can read that post HERE. But here are a few more words from Fountas and Pinnell:
“For young children, poems, chants, rhymes, and songs have natural qualities that help them become familiar with rhythm and tone. They are easy to remember and fun to repeat.”
Where can I find Poetry for Kids?
I have created a few sets of poetry for kids! You can find them by clicking below:
- Poetry and Shared Reading BUNDLE (for kindergarten students)
- Poetry and Shared Reading BUNDLE (for kindergarten or first-grade students)
- Poetry and Shared Reading Nursery Rhyme BUNDLE
Poems for Kids: So what is next?
I have been asked to create a second year’s worth of poems. I am thrilled that districts have adopted my poems for their teachers. Now kindergarten AND first grade can use my poetry units. I have already gotten started! On a recent family trip, I took the back seat. Mr. Wills and the Perfect Son sat up front while I worked out the poems for August/September and October. Can I just tell you that their participation was hilarious (but also super helpful)?
SIDENOTE: I hate my handwriting!
UPDATE: These poems have all been completed!
That is it! I loved using poems in my classroom and my kids loved them!
Read more about poetry!
- Poetry: 5 Day Fluency Made EASY
- Nursery Rhyme Lesson Plans for Kindergarten (FREE File)
- Poetry Books in Kindergarten! FREE Organization Resource
- Poetry in Kindergarten | It’s Like Free Books But BETTER!